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12 Places You Will Never Set Eyes On

Ise Grand Shrine

The holiest of shrines for followers of the Shinto religion is the Ise Grand Shrine, located in Ise, Japan, in Mie prefecture. It is dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami, the sun goddess and ancestor of the emperors of Japan. The 4th-century BCE temple is actually a complex of 123 shrines nestled among natural formations, such as rocks, waterfalls, caves, forests and mountains typical of this naturalistic religion. The temple is torn down and rebuilt every 20 years symbolizing Shintoism’s belief in death and rebirth. The farthest anyone can go in is up to the gates where they can pray and admire the splendor of the temples, but after washing their hands and mouth from the ritual pool. Only a priest or priestess member of the imperial family can go inside, leaving the rest of humanity outside at the gate genuflecting.